Friday at the EU Masters 2022 will start with Group B action. First up is a giant mismatch on paper, with LFL giants and favourites Karmine Corp taking on Team Phantasma. Karmine began with a loss to X7 Esports, but have rebounded to win two in a row. Phantasma are on the brink of elimination, having begun the group stage with three successive losses.
Three more games remain for both sides, and the top two from the group progress through to the knockouts. As things stand, X7 Esports and Karmine are well primed to make it that far. If Gamerlegion or Phantasma fancy an outside chance, they need to win each of their remaining games and hope the stars align, with a slew of other results going their way.
For Team Phantasma, this is an opportunity to test themselves against some of the top teams from Europe’s competitive league. If anything, this will be a true reflection of where they stand and the areas they will have to quickly improve in.
Playing against two of the field leaders may seem a bridge too far – the odds clearly state that, with punters likely to get a 6X return on their bets should Phantasma cause a massive upset – but that shouldn’t deter them. This is an opportunity to play fearlessly. They have everything to gain and nothing to lose.
They only need to take a leaf out of their game against X7. The result didn’t go their way, but there were pockets where they fought hard and pushed X7. Nikolex led the way for them, landing 4 kills, 6 deaths and 5 assists, while Bako also showed glimpses of excellent form. While his kill participation percentage through 6 assists was excellent, having the same number of deaths somewhat undid his good work.
The key will be for their players to watch out against their death rate which has always tended to be on the higher side. For teams to be proficient, the death rate can’t be as high as it has been consistently for Phantasma. And this isn’t something they would be able to figure out in an instant. But the experience of playing the big teams regularly will be of massive help.
In this particular game against X7, Phantasma landed 42k gold, which was 14.2k fewer than X7. They also landed 11 kills to X7’s 25, and managed all of one tower capture even as their opponents ransacked 9. These are key differentiators in the quality of both sides. One side – a European favourite, another an up and coming team looking to gain valuable experience.
Karmine brushed aside GamerLegion quite comfortably, without having to flex their muscle. An intimidating unit at the best of times, this clash was a one-way contest from start to finish. And surprisingly, it didn’t need their superstar Rekkles to have a massive say, even if he did leave his imprint in his own way.
Hantera landed 6 assists, Rekkles came into his own with 2 kills, 1 death, 6 assists and a creep score of 269 but the most improved show was from 113, whose support role was stellar in landing them 11 assists, along with 1 kill and 2 deaths.
Karmine could have afforded to experiment and yet walk away winners, and that is exactly what happened. This was another team game where all the pieces of the jigsaw were in full sync with the other. Expect Friday to be no different.
X7’s propensity to come back from any situation has been the hallmark of their game. To an extent that no team can ever relax against them at any point. Give them an inch and they could open up an acre. Methodical in their lane fights, systematic in defence, positive and full of intent while going for the kill – there is a method to their madness.
And it hasn’t come overnight. All of this has taken a few years in the making, like it would for any good team. With X7, it’s all the more evident because their distinct style of play. Clarity in thought, process and approach makes them a well-rounded unit. For GamerLegion to rise up against them and fight, it will take something monumental.
They looked like a strong team coming into the tournament, but have stuttered since. This leaves them greatly at risk of missing the knockouts. All this means X7 firmly have the odds with them. What this means is a bet of 1 USD on GamerLegion could earn you little more than 2X returns should they cause an upset.
Whatever could go right did go right for X7 Esports against Karmine Corp on the second day of the tournament. They romped to a 13-0 kill score to stamp their authority over proceedings; all this even as Karmine Corp managed to take down just 1 turret and drake apiece in the entire game.
To put it mildly, it was an annihilation for the French outfit, which sharply brought into focus the competitive nature of the LFL. It has elicited massive social media debates on whether the LFL is the most competitive regional league in Europe.
That said, what has come as a major relief for the French fans is the performance of LDLC OL, the Spring Split toppers who are showing no signs of slowing down, and thereby raising hopes of an LFL team winning the title. That could, for the moment at least, close out any debates.
Okay, so immediately after the contest against X7, GamerLegion have little downtime before they clash against underdogs Team Phantsama. By then, they would either be floating in the sky, following a massive upset of X7 that could count as a win for the ages, or will be hurting at a defeat that has all but eliminated them, which means all they will have is pride to play for.
Either ways, GamerLegion will enter this contest as favourites, purely because they are more experiences, have pedigreed players possessing big match experience, much more than all Phantsama players combined.
The odds are against Phantsama, who could get you 3X returns should they win, but such a prospect looks unrealistic for the moment. Phantsama have lost three in three; there’s a good chance they may have lost four in four going into this match.
Bako and Nikolex shone bright when Phantasma gave X7 a few jitters, and they will once again be key players GamerLegion will need to stop in their tracks if they are to dominate. They were prolific at GLL Split 2022, where Team Phantasma finished second in the eight-team pool with a 11-3 record.
They carried that form forward at the spring playoffs, where they beat We Love Gaming 3-2 in a pulsating final. Having contributed to pivotal wins so far this spring, the two players will be among those keenly watched.
These two aside, mid laner Peppe has been their pillar of strength over the years. His maturity and acceptance of moderate success at previous EU Masters, where expectations were riding high on him, have made him a much-improved player.
Phantsama failed to qualify for the EU Masters play-in stage last summer, so this is a team angry to prove a point and want to go out with a win or two. Having bounced back to become the top seed from the Greek league, they are keen to prove they are no pushovers. Expect them to go down fighting at the very least.
Until a week ago, fans didn’t know why Karmine v X7 was billed as one of the spiciest rivalry. Sure, both have a massive following. Both sides are hugely successful. And when two successful teams square off, comparisons are inevitable. And so everything each side did, elicited comparisons from the other, even if it does no justice to the players.
Last week, these two sides square off for the first time. It was an organiser’s dream. The result was sadly one-sided. Hopefully part-2 of this rivalry will quite be the El Classico of the sports world many are hoping for.
In their previous clash on April 15, X7 landed as many as 53.7k gold, which is nearly 12k more than Karmine. They landed 13 kills to Karmine’s grand sum of zero and ransacked seven towers, even as Karmine breached just 1. One of the biggest reasons why X7 dominated was because they managed to keep Rekkles and Hantera quiet.
Rekkles finished the game with underwhelming numbers: 0 kills, 4 deaths and 0 assists. Hantera was only a tad better with 0 kills, 2 death and 0 assists. For X7, Haru’s proficiency stood out.
He landed 5 kills and 6 assists, while KaSing had a high kill participation rate that came about courtesy 8 assists He also landed 2 kills. So clearly, keeping two of the biggest superstars from the opponents quiet through silent execution of plans worked for X7. Do Karmine have a counter?
The odds are mighty close for this one. It’s going down to the wire, folks. I’d be very wary of placing massive bets on either team, because you ain’t going to be able to predict which way this is going.
|European Masters 2022 Spring Split Information|
|Teams||GamerLergion, Karmine Corp, X7 Esports, Team Phantasma|
|Time||Friday, April 22 at 11.15 AM EST onwards|
|How to watch||Official Twitch channel|
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With an interest in strategy and mathematics, applying that to sports writing was the natural progression. A writer at night and the founder of a gaming company, Nikhil’s previous experience includes working with ESPN for five years. His specialization includes soccer, basketball, tennis, and esports betting. Email: [email protected]More info on Nikhil Kalro
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